June 4, 2011
HOUSTON -- The Baylor baseball team built an early 3-0 lead and held-off a couple of Rice rallies to claim a 3-2 win over the Owls in Saturday's winner's bracket game of the NCAA Regional held at Reckling Park in Houston.
Rice, the regional's No. 1 seed, must next play in a 2 pm elimination game Sunday afternoon against No. 3 seed California. Either team losing the elimination game would end that squad's 2011 season - where the winner must then beat the Baylor Bears a total of two more times to claim the regional, including a 6 pm game Sunday followed by what would then be one extra game on Monday night at 6 pm. With wins in both of their first two games in the regional, No. 2 seed Baylor needs to win only once more to advance to the NCAA's super regional round next weekend.
Playing as the home team in front of a crowd of 4,932 at Reckling Park on Saturday evening, Baylor quickly put a pair of runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning. Cal Towey reached on an Owl fielding error and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Towey scored on Max Muncy's double to right-center field for the first run of the game. Muncy then came home on an RBI single by Josh Ludy for a 2-0 advantage.
The Bears added another run in the third. Brooks Pinckard drew a leadoff walk and stole both second and third base. He scored on a ricochet ground out that touched two Owl infielders to make it 3-0.
Rice rallied for a pair of runs in the top of the sixth. Keenan Cook drew a leadoff walk and was hustling to third on a base hit by J.T. Chargois. A wild throw from an attempt retire Cook, however, sailed high and out of play. Cook scored and Chargois moved around to third base. Chargois scored on a single into center by Anthony Rendon that cut the lead to one, 3-2.
That was the only runs the Owls could muster off Baylor starting pitcher Josh Turley. The sophomore lefthander pitched a complete game, allowing seven hits and walking three while striking out seven. Rice had two men reach base in both the seventh and eighth innings, but could not push across the tying run. The Blue & Gray's best opportunity to strike was with two outs in the eighth, but a stinging shot by Craig Manuel landed just foul down the first base line.
Freshman right-hander Austin Kubitza started on the mound for Rice and worked a total of 7.1 innings. The Colleyville, Tex., native allowed just two earned runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out nine to give him a total of 102 Ks in his debut season at the Division I level.
Rice, 42-20, saw its four-game win streak come to an end. Baylor improved to 31-26. The Bears await the winner of Sunday's 2 pm Rice-California contest.